Scams Awareness Week is an annual campaign hosted by the ACCC and the Scams Awareness Network, which raises awareness about common scams and offers tips on how people can protect themselves from scammers.
This year Scams Awareness Week is about empowering people to learn how to spot a scam and encouraging them to take the time to check whether a communication or offer is real.
Scams can cause serious harm. Protect yourself and those around you. If you see or experience a scam, report it. Visit the Scams Awareness Week website for more information: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news-alerts/scams-awareness-week-2022
As financial advisers, you are well aware of the risk of scams, the context of the below information is to highlight the important role you play as advisers to assist your clients to understand these risks and to help to educate your clients.
- To empower people to stop, check and verify whether a contact, offer or interaction is real.
- Educate people on ways to check whether a communication or offer is a scam.
- Encourage people to have conversations with those around them about scams.
- Inform people on where to seek help if they or someone they know has fallen victim to a scam.
- Promote Scam watch as a reliable source of information and a place to report scams.
Know the signs
Examples of what you need to look out for to protect yourself and to identify when something is a scam.
- Something urging you to act quickly.
- A caller threatening you for immediate payment
- Messages and emails asking you to click on links or open attachments.
- Someone asking for your passwords or personal financial information.
- Offers that sound too good to be true.
- Someone asking to remotely access your computer.
- Requests for payment via gift cards, cryptocurrency or bank transfer
- Requests for payment to a new bank account
- Unsolicited offers of financial or investment advice
- Offer to make fast or guaranteed money with little or no risk
Stop and check
Be careful of links and attachments and do not click on or download anything you don’t trust, especially from suspicious texts or emails.
- If unsure, check the communication is real by contacting the person or organisation directly using details you have found yourself.
- Scammers can create emails, so it appears to be sent from a genuine source. Do not automatically trust something just because it appears in a previous conversation with a trusted source.
- Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date.
Protect your personal information
Never give personal information to a stranger. Scammers will pose as a legitimate contact to get your details to hack your accounts or steal your identity.
- Anyone asking you for your password or access to your device is likely a scammer.
- For added security enable a two-factor authentication on your accounts where possible.
- Use strong passwords on your online accounts and protect your network and devices with antivirus software.
Be careful with payments
Use secure payment methods such as credit card.
- If a known contact claims to have a “new” bank account, phone number or other details, call the person to confirm using a trusted number you have used before.
- If making a large payment to a new recipient, or a recipient who claims to have changed their bank account, always call to confirm their bank details using a number found on their website or a number you have used before.
Verify before you buy
If you are buying through a seller or a site you have not used before, do your research first.
- Look for the sellers’ terms and conditions, ABN and physical address. The company’s address should have a street name, not just a PO Box.
- Search a seller or business name and details online for independent reviews.
- Do not rely on seeing a padlock in the address bar of your browser – this does not guarantee you are buying from a real company.
Scammers can pretend to be anyone online, including the government or your bank so you can never be entirely sure who you are dealing with when you are contacted out of the blue.